Google Analytics Premium: Better Support & Goodbye Data Sampling

Google Analytics PremiumToday Google launched a paid version of Google Analytics that processes higher volumes of page views and provides additional support. The general feature set and user experience remain the fundamentally the same as the standard product. This comes as an important addition to the enterprise set of tools that Google offers. The new version audience is mainly enterprises that receive a high amount of traffic and need a certain commitment from Google’s part on data collection, up-time, and support.

The new Google Analytics premium is not about features, as shown below there are few capabilities available on the premium version that are not available on the standard version. It is designed for organizations who value guaranteed availability, dedicated services and support; it is also critical for sites who want to process data more frequently and without sampling.

Below is a detailed description of the tool capabilities, availability, support and pricing.

Google Analytics Premium – Product Description

Processing Power

  • Guaranteed processing for up to 1 billion hits per month (vs. the 10 million a month for standard accounts).  This applies to a single business or enterprise, but can include multiple web properties. In other words, if a company owns several sites, but the combined volume is under the 1 billion limit, all can be part of one premium instance, but if each site may reach the 1 billion limit separately, then the company would need to pay separately for each site.
  • Faster, intra-day processing
  • Service Level Agreement around data collection, reporting, and processing
    • 99.9% on Collection up-time
    • 99% on Reporting up-time
    • 98% on on-time Data Freshness (within 4 hours)

Advanced Analysis Tools

  • Up to 50 Custom Variable slots (the standard version provides 5)
  • Unsampled report downloads for custom report requests
  • Unaggregated report downloads for large report requests (up to 1 million rows per download)

Dedicated Support

  • Dedicated Account Management
  • Phone & Email support 10 hours per day, 5 days per week (relevant to the time zone in which the contract was signed)
  • Implementation Consultation & Tagging Audit
  • Live & Webinar Training
  • 24/7 Product Emergency Escalation Support, if the product is ever outside of the SLA

Pricing & Availability

At first, Google Analytics Premium is is available to companies based in the US, UK, and Canada, although the sites can be located globally. However, according to Google, it will expand into other regions as quickly as possible.

Prices varies per region and will be as follows: $150,000 USD (US), $150,000 CAN (Canada), or GBP 90,000 (UK) per year (billed in monthly increments).

User Interface Changes

As mentioned above, Google Analytics Premium is not about a new set of features. The interface is almost identical to the standard interface we are used to. I believe this is an advantage for users, as most people are already acquainted with the tool and won’t have to get to know another interface.

The following differences can be seen in the tool (screenshots from Analytics Premium a website developed by Cardinal Path, a Google Analytics premium reseller):

    • When you click the “Download” button on a report, you will have the option to request an “Unsampled Download”
    • There will be an “Unsampled Downloads” section in the Custom Reports tab

  • Up to 50 custom variables will be available in the Custom Report builder

Google’s also released this video about it:

YouTube Preview Image

Who Should Use Google Analytics Premium

One very important question that comes to mind is: does this mean that Google is not going to invest in the free version moving forward? According to Google:

We are more committed than ever to our standard version. With the release of Google Analytics v5 we are poised to release features faster than ever and are confident that measurement can keep up with the digital consumer journey at last. In the last 3 months alone we’ve released many great features to the new version of Google Analytics.

Another important question is: do I need Google Analytics Premium? That question is a bit trickier. Here are a few cases where you should certainly consider the premium version:

  1. If you are currently using a paid tool: the advantage of GA Premium is that pricing is not based on pageviews or hits or visits. If your site generates 1 billion hits per month (in which case you are probably paying a very high amount), now you can use Google Analytics with a higher level of accuracy. In addition, you can feel safe that in case you lose your web analytics budget, you can downgrade to the standard Google Analytics without losing your data or needing to switch tags (and can upgrade again later).
  2. If you are using standard Google Analytics and currently getting sampled data and unsampled data is important for you you. Some websites generate large amounts of data, which results in data sampling on Google Analytics. The premium version will power the collection and processing of this information, in addition to have higher data limits (1 billion hits a month). A plus is that the reports should load faster and data will be fresher, even at larger volumes.
  3. If your website visitors need to be segmented in more ways. By offering 50 custom variables (the limit now is 5) Google will enable more segmentation options, usually needed on large and complex websites.

Closing Thoughts

This release comes as great news for the industry, as it shows how strategic is Analytics to Google and how much they are willing to invest in it. The unsampled reports and the SLA are great differentials (which were always used by Google’s competitors on the field). It means it will bring the market up and we will keep seeing advancements in this arena.

One single feature that is still not on the level of the competitors is user access management. As of today there are only two types of users on Google Analytics: Administrator and Viewer. For SMB and enterprises this is not enough in order to administer who sees what and who can change the tool settings. As mentioned in an article about Analytics User Management: “Everyone who has access to a web analytics tool needs to take responsibility for that access.”

To summarize, in an interview with Thomas Davenport he said that “it ain’t about the math, it is about the relationships”. Google’s strategy to first conquer the end user (i.e. analysts, SEMs, and more recently marketing managers) and then go for the enterprises looks very smart. Google Analytics is by far the most used tool, and this can only count in favor when an enterprise is choosing a tool, employees are already comfortable with it.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Features: General | Google: Analytics | Top News


About The Author: is the Founder of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. He is also the founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement & Optimization website. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

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  • Michael Martinez

    Is this why they made the free version progressively worse? So you’ll buy the premium version?


  • A.H.

    Agreed, Michael.

    The “New Version” of Analytics, with the famous Beta tag, is absolutely a step backward from the previous one.

    But in many ways, so is Docs, Gmail and the Calendar. And have you seen the Adsense mobile account management site? WHOA!

    They’re apparently attempting to simplify things by offering a cleaner UI. Hopefully we’ll be able to use the Old/Classic versions for a few more years.

    It’s funny how Adwords is constantly improving though- he he!

  • Sujan Patel

    I like the fact that Google added new features to Analytics but I still like KissMetrics. Will there ever be a solid real time analytics program?

  • Michael Martinez

    Combining all search engines into one “Search” source is not, in my opinion, a “cleaner UI”. I can’t believe any agency would recommend Google Analytics.

  • David Burdon

    This is for big enterprises only. Those that are already spending £$000,000s on data mining and CRM. For the rest of us a Google price tag of $150,000 will help us convince smaller clients that they need to pay for the effort that goes into processing and analysing all that data.

  • Tyson Kirksey

    I’m sorry, Michael, I would have to disagree. GA v5 has many features that are a step in the right direction. Real-time reporting was just announced yesterday. The ability to preview Advanced Segments and make edits on a report is a huge improvement. The ability to go from profile to profile with the same report, date and segment is an incredible time saver. Multi-channel Funnel reporting brings attribution a long ways forward. The Dashboards are much improved.

    Grouping all search engines into one “search” source, as you say, is not a standard feature. It could be a generic search engine ( or something), or I’ve seen on one occasion where a client had a sub-domain called search, and it was reported that way. You might speak with a GA Partner and get that fixed.

    Sure there are still some features that are lacking (PDF export!!!), but overall the product is getting stronger, unquestionably.

  • I.C.

    Yes, i also think GA v5 has much improved features, especially the multi channel funnels. Instead of last click attribution, measuring multiple touch points across multiple channels really gives a holistic picture of how each channel is performing.

    i attended the their goMeasure seminar in Singapore this year, full house! Really strong interest there.

  • A.H.

    These “much improved features” everyone mentions- have you tried actually using them?

    As Tyson mentioned, the inability to export as PDF is an absolute deal-breaker for me (not that there’s any deal to break).

    Most of Google’s products are simply not enterprise ready.

  • S.A.

    How to improve my UK analytics account to premium version?

  • Michael Martinez

    Clearly people who are pleased with pretty pictures will love the new Google Analytics. Anyone who actually needs to dig into the data is most likely already using a more suitable tracking tool anyway.

    To suggest, however, that Google’s bundling of ALL search engines into one blunt category is somehow relevant only to obscure search engines indicates the level of depth to which some people aspire when looking at analytics data.

    If you’re not going to differentiate between the traffic from Google and the traffic from Bing, you don’t need an analytics package. Just put a hit counter on your pages and you’re done.

  • A.H.

    What are you referring to, Michael?

    It’s pretty simple to traffic from specific SE’s. Maybe you have a browser issue or some advanced segment turned on?

    Don’t you see a “Source” option?

  • Michael Martinez

    Nope. I just click on the little nav links in the left-hand column such as TRAFFIC SOURCES >> SEARCH >> OVERVIEW and there I am — staring at a completely useless “Organic” traffic report where I THEN have to click on a “Secondary Dimension”. Where are the queries?

    Oh, yes, I have to go down to “Search Engine Optimization” and set up my Webmaster Tools access — which I’ve done twice, and the service STILL says I have to set up my Webmaster Tools access.

    So glad it works for you. I’d rather pull burrs out of an angry lion’s butt, thank you. It would be a more productive use of my time.

  • Tyson Kirksey


    On the report you mentioned, the default Dimension is “Traffic Type”, but you can easily see the engines, queries, etc with one click. Look right above the table at the blue links and click on “Source” or “Keyword”. To say that GA does not differentiate traffic between Google and Bing is just not accurate.

    You can also see the engines in the All Traffic Sources report, which breaks out every Source / Medium combination very nicely. Have you seen this?

    Sorry you are struggling with Google Analytics. It’s OK to prefer something else, but you are misstating the facts in some of your statements about GA. It is a very capable solution that is being used by some of the largest and most successful brands on the web.

  • Michael Martinez

    Please read my comment again.

    The new Google Analytics goes out of its way to separate the user from the data.

  • Mark Carey

    I have site that does over 50 million hits on GA a month. Does this mean I will need to upgrade to premium (which I cannot afford)? Or does this mean that GA is currently only capturing a sampling of my traffic and the stats are estimated based on that sampling?

  • A.H.

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